Choosing An Engagement Ring

by Owen Relfe

So we totally missed Valentine’s this year, we like to celebrate ‘love’ on whatever day we feel and although we know that the most popular time for engagements is Christmas & Valentine’s we thought a guide to buying an engagement ring is always useful….

So, if you are thinking about getting down on one knee, or perhaps you all ready have but you used a hula-hoop or a pretend ring, here we look at some top tips for choosing a piece of jewellery that will stand the test of time.

Think About Their Style

An engagement ring is a piece of jewellery that the recipient should want to wear everyday for the rest of their life (no pressure). It should be a timeless piece that will symbolise your love so it’s really important to find something that matches your partner’s style and personality. Getting the colour of the metal right is the first big decision – do they prefer gold or platinum? Next move on to size and style. Consider the sort of jewellery they tend to wear all ready – is it classic minimalist pieces, or bold statement jewellery? If it’s the latter, think carefully about how bold is too bold and try not to choose anything that might be ‘on trend’ as it may not be a few years down the line.

Size Matters

… and we don’t mean the bigger the better! If you are going for a classic diamond ring, do your research. It’s the cut grade that will effect how beautifully sparkly the ring is – not the size. Even if you choose a larger stone, if it’s of poor cut quality, it will affect the appearance of the colour and clarity. Go and chat to a few jewellers and ask then to show you a range of rings so you can see for yourself.

When you’re thinking about size it’s also worth considering your partner’s lifestyle. With most engagement rings the stone is placed on a setting meaning it is a raised by a few millimetres. If your partner is only allowed to wear minimal jewellery for work, or has the type of job or hobby where the ring may easily get caught, it’s worth looking at options where the stone has been set flush into the metal. You quite often see these as wedding bands but there’s no reason not to have this as an engagement ring and then a plain metal band alongside it when you get married.

Choose A Sustainable Option

Something that we would always strongly advocate is choosing a ring that has been ethically sourced and made. When it comes to diamonds, there are three main options:

An ethically sourced stone

All reputable jewellers should be able to tell you the provenance and origin of the gemstones and metals that have been used. Taylor & Hart, London based jewellers, go into great detail on their website and we’d recommend spending some time reading about what they have to say. They talk about the Kimberly Process (a certification programme which aims to prevent the diamond trade from financing confect) as well as the Diamond Time Lapse, a diamond provenance programme that documents each stone’s journey. While we are in no way affiliated with Taylor & Hart they certainly have some beautiful pieces but if nothing more, use this as a source of information to then quiz your chosen jewellers!

A lab grown stone

Lab grown diamonds are made by recreating the natural conditions under which diamonds were formed. They can carry a smaller price tag yet look just as beautiful as natural diamonds as they are chemically and visually the same. While this method ensures your gemstone is conflict-free, it’s important to check out the environmental credentials too. While lab grown diamonds certainly don’t cause the same amount of environmental damage as mining, they do require a lot of energy to produce. Ethica Diamonds based in Truro, have partnered with the Diamond Foundry, the world’s only net zero-carbon-footprint producer of diamonds. They are ensuring all their pieces are environmentally responsible – you can read more about this on their website.

A recycled stone

We aren’t advocating raiding the family safe for heirlooms here! Although, having said that, there is something utterly romantic about the thought of being able to hand down a beautiful piece of jewellery through the generations. If this is something you have been offered, but the piece in question isn’t really your style, keep in mind that you can have it repurposed by using the materials to create an entirely new custom design. It’s worth checking with family members first though as people may have strong emotions and memoires connected to the original piece.

However, you don’t have to all ready own a ring to choose the recycled option. Pre-loved engagement rings often come with a much lower price tag and by choosing something second hand it reduces the need to mine diamonds (one by one, but every little counts). Plus, some of the antique rings available are absolutely beautiful and you may be lucky enough to find a really unique style that is not readily available in the modern market place. Remember as well that as we mentioned above, you could always have a pre-loved ring repurposed to make it ‘new to you’.

Think Outside The Box

Just because it’s traditional to use a diamond or gemstone in an engagement ring, it doesn’t mean you have to. You know your partner better than anyone else so think carefully about whether they’d like something a little different, and if the answer is ‘yes’ then enjoying exploring the options. We adore Somerset based Eco Wood Rings. They create one-of-a-kind rings using wood, metal and gemstones that are people and planet friendly and we think they look absolutely gorgeous.

Go For It

Well, if you’ve got this far, the chances are you’re thinking very seriously about proposing. We hope this has helped inspire you to choose something beautiful, from ethical sources that will suit your partner forever. Maybe the next step will be planning your perfect day with us!

Take Care The Coast Tents Team xxxx